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Moms And Social Media: How To Break Free From The Comparison Trap

We are all aware of the current focus on the pitfalls of teenagers and social media. And we could probably debate for hours on all the pros and cons.

But what about social media’s influence/impact on us moms of tweens and teens?

Moms and Social Media

It’s not so different from our teenagers. For moms, scrolling through our feeds can be positive – relaxing, catching up with friends, finding great recipes and workout videos – but it too has negative consequences.

Welcome the comparison trap. Moms, in particular, are prone to falling into the comparison trap when they spend time on social media.

Let’s be honest. There are a lot of expectations on us moms to be caregivers, to seamlessly balance work and all the responsibilities at home, while also meeting all our kids’ needs. And then, of course, we must take care of ourselves, too. How many of us question whether we are providing enough opportunities for our kids or if they are happy and well-adjusted? Sometimes, it can seem as though everyone else but us has it all figured out.

Social media is feeding into these expectations. Our phones are never far from our grasp and for many of us, it’s hard to resist the temptations of social media. While we love catching up with friends, old and new, near and far, and hearing about all the wonderful things friends are experiencing, the constant stream of perfect family photos, achievement announcements, and the seemingly flawless lives of others can be daunting. It’s all too easy to look at other families and immediately think we are falling short and wonder if we’re doing something wrong.

These idealized versions of life contribute to feelings of inadequacy among moms and teenagers alike. Research published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found a strong correlation between social media use and increased feelings of envy and depression among users, particularly mothers.

We know but often forget that social media is a highlight reel. People tend to share their best moments—vacations, awards, family celebrations—while the everyday struggles and imperfections remain hidden. This creates a skewed perception of reality, making us doubt our own parenting choices. It’s important to remember that behind every perfect post, there are likely untold stories of challenges and setbacks.

Moms And Social Media: How To Break Free From The Comparison Trap

Comparing ourselves to our peers is a natural human behavior. (We know this about our teenagers, but do we ever think about how often we do it?) When we compare ourselves to other moms, it can intensify feelings of inadequacy. Engaging in comparison can be detrimental to both our mental health and our relationships with our children. We can begin to doubt ourselves, question our parenting skills or believe we’re not doing enough for our kids. Trying to keep up with others can create a sense of pressure and urgency, leading to unnecessary stress and anxiety. When we are preoccupied with how we measure up to others, we might inadvertently neglect our own families’ unique needs and strengths. This can strain our relationships with our children and partners.

So, how can we break free from the comparison trap and embrace our unique parenting journey? Here are a few strategies:

Focus on Your Values: Every family is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Reflect on your family’s values and what’s important to you. Make decisions based on these values rather than what others are doing.

Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate the small victories in your family’s life. These moments, though they may seem insignificant, are the building blocks of a happy and healthy family.

Practice Gratitude: Regularly take time to appreciate what you have. Gratitude can shift your focus from what’s lacking to what’s abundant in your life.

Limit Social Media Exposure: Be mindful of your social media use. If you find that certain accounts trigger feelings of inadequacy, consider unfollowing or muting them. Curate your feed to include positive and supportive content.

Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with a supportive community of friends and family who understand and respect your parenting style. Sharing experiences with others who are in similar situations can provide comfort and perspective.

Parenting teenagers is a challenging yet rewarding journey. It’s essential to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. By letting go of comparisons and embracing your family’s unique path, you can foster a more peaceful and fulfilling home environment. Trust in your abilities as a parent and have confidence that you are doing the best you can for your children despite the ups and downs.

Remember, the goal is not to be perfect but to be present. Cherish the moments, learn from the struggles, and continue to grow together as a family. Your journey is your own, and that’s what makes it special.

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